Car ownership is a fact of modern life in Britain. The number of cars on British roads has been steadily increasing for decades. In fact, this remains so even if you account for changes in population. According to RAC reports, the number of cars per household and per head has been steadily climbing, too.

Nowadays, you don’t need to own a car in order to drive one. There are myriad options, many of which will fit people with particular tastes and financial circumstances.

How is Car Ownership Changing? - ownership, cars

Buying Outright

The most obvious strategy is to simply buy the car outright using cash. The major downside here, naturally, is that you’ll need a considerable pot of savings to draw upon. On the other hand, you won’t need to worry about interest on loans, and you’ll have the freedom to sell any time you like.

Personal Loan

Head into your building society or bank, and tell them that you need a new vehicle. If your new vehicle is cheaper to run than your old one, or it’ll help you to travel to a workplace where you’ll earn a higher income, borrowing is going to make a great deal of sense. A little bit of paperwork might be necessary, however, and you might find that your other borrowing is affected during this period. If you want a new Vauxhall corsa-e, price might be something to consider – but in the long term, it might be a saving.

Hire Purchase

On the other hand, you might take out a loan, secured against the vehicle, and then pay that loan back every month for a fixed period. It’s worth shopping around for the best deal where financing is concerned, as the rate you’re offered in the dealership might not necessarily be the best one.


A personal contract purchase involves getting a loan based on the predicted difference between the car’s value at the start and end of the hire agreement. When the period has lapsed, you’ll have a choice between returning the car to the dealer, putting the resale value towards a new car, or keeping the car by paying off the final resale value. Bear in mind that these agreements tend to be a little more complex, and that you might end up paying a little more if you go outside the pre-agreed limits on mileage.

PCH Leasing

A personal contract hire is a little bit simpler, as the car always belongs to the dealer rather than to you. It offers flexibility, as you’ll be able to switch whenever you feel like you need an upgrade. As such, arrangements of this kind are great for those who want to drive something new, and don’t want to worry about moving the old vehicle on.